[ pal-imp-sest ]
/ ˈpæl ɪmpˌsɛst /


a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.

Origin of palimpsest

1655–65; < Latin palimpsēstus < Greek palímpsēstos rubbed again (pálin again + psēstós scraped, rubbed, verbid of psân to rub smooth)

Related forms

pal·imp·ses·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for palimpsest

British Dictionary definitions for palimpsest


/ (ˈpælɪmpˌsɛst) /


a manuscript on which two or more successive texts have been written, each one being erased to make room for the next


(of a text) written on a palimpsest
(of a document) used as a palimpsest

Word Origin for palimpsest

C17: from Latin palimpsestus parchment cleaned for reuse, from Greek palimpsēstos, from palin again + psēstos rubbed smooth, from psēn to scrape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012